De-Evolution is Real!

I'm a Potato

Published

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Chris Okay here’s the count. 3. 2. 1. Now! Super catchy.

Jon This feels like it’s gonna be Truckin’ by the Grateful Dead almost.

Chris Yeah. Very americana.

Jon But with tinkly shitty synths.

Chris Lol yeah. It could be a cover.

Jon Picturing 15min live versions.

Chris Haha yeah. Big jam breakdown. This does feel like the prior era almost.

Jon But yeah I dig it. They were all over the place at this point! It’s kinda great.

Chris Like 70s classic rock. Yeah very eclectic.

Jon They didn’t seem to mind if their band was EVERY kind of band at once.

Chris Yeah.

Jon It’s funny they didn’t bring this back out once they were on a major, it’s a pretty big de-evolution / “spud-man” terminology heavy song.

Chris Yeah that is odd. It’s a straightforward rock song about de-evoluton and potatoes. Because the lyrics are unobjectionable for once.

Jon I can see them playing this at some dive bar and the crowd being into it.

Chris Yeah exactly. They could have made this into a performance piece.

Jon Especially since they went full cowboy in the Come Back Jonee video.

Chris Yeah exactly. Do another bar band fake sub band. Maybe they felt they already did that theme with that video? But this song has weird lyrics.

Jon Maybe yeah. And that’s a pretty straightforward rock song too.

Chris Yeah. Come Back Jonee you can tune out and think it’s a regular song. I think that’s the fun part of it tho. The traditional song paired with weird lyrics. I think it could have at least been a solid B side.

Jon Yeah. In that song Jonee gets into a fatal car crash. But if you aren’t paying attention…

Chris Right, exactly. It’s subtle.

Jon Yeah! Especially when stuff like Soo Bawls and Penetration in the Centrefold were getting released as such.

Chris Yeah. But this one has potatoes in the chorus.

Jon An iconic Devo image to say the least.

Chris And this song’s production seems slicker than some of the other tracks on the album.

Jon Yeah especially right after Midget!

Chris Lol oh yeah.

Jon 1999 Napster vs 2016 Pono over here. That was a dumb comparison perhaps, but it ties in Neil Young.

Chris Haha, yeah. Neil young is a deeply weird dude. Do we want to talk about the potato imagery in Devo at all?

Jon I think we can delve into spud-talk a bit more when we get to Smart Patrol/Mr DNA maybe?

Chris Sure. Is this the first instance of the spud stuff recorded? We don’t have to get into the meaning and imagery, just curious on the timeline.

Jon It might be! I don’t think I’ve caught any so far.

Chris Yeah same.

Jon It comes up way less in actual lyrics than you’d expect.

Chris Yeah, it’s more an imagery thing. And according to a YouTube commenter, this is the only instance where Bob 2 sings?

Jon That can’t be. Again, in Smart Patrol everybody gets a turn. But maybe for a whole song yeah. This has me wondering, how would one cite a YouTube commenter in a peer-reviewed journal.

Jon Comment #5. Some Asshole, 2014.

Chris Haha I think that’s it.

Jon GokuDid911BLAZEIT wrote the following on this subject:

Chris An expert in the field, FartNugget69 wrote:

Chris Did you want to talk some more about the lyrics on this one? I thought they were pretty interesting. Especially coming off Midget, lol. This one definitely feels satirical/sarcastic.

Jon True. It definitely feels like another statement-of-intent kinda song, like Jocko Homo or Wiggly World. Their tenets laid out clearly.

Chris Yes. I read it as the narrator being a self proclaimed moral arbiter. And judging the world. The lyrics again are more textural.

Jon Yeah it’s like Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver or something.

Chris Yeah exactly. They don’t tell a cohesive story.

Jon Now that I’m seeing them all written out.

Chris It’s like some psycho’s journal.

Jon Yeah. Again flirting with terrorism.

Chris Yeah.

Jon Do we think the members of Devo had hard copies of the Anarchist Cookbook and Steal This Book and shit?

Chris Haha, if they were available, maybe?

Jon That whole THING is a paranoiac screed.

Chris But I think of them less as people advocating things to get a shock value.

Jon It definitely fits their aesthetic at least in an irony way. Have you checked out My Struggle by Booji Boy yet?

Chris No I haven’t seen My Struggle.

Jon Oh man one sec. Link incoming.

Chris Interesting, maybe I’ll change my opinion.

Chris Before I see it, let me lay out what I think now, not having seen it.

Jon Go for it!

Chris In my mind, Devo comes across less as the shock-rockers/provocateurs. In terms of subversive things. But more on the side of, “look, this is what everyone’s doing, isn’t it insane? haha” side. And they don’t really care about spelling that out. Because that would undercut the artwork.

Jon Yeah. I think they do pretty well, considering a lot of anti-establishment music can get really embarrassing really fast.

Chris Oh yeah. That’s not a criticism, btw.

Chris I think they generally toe the line well.

Jon Here’s some dude’s Dropbox upload of My Struggle, by the way.

Chris Like, if Rage Against the Machine didn’t have badass guitars, would their lyrics be sufferance?

Jon Haha I was JUST THINKING about them. In this exact regard.

Chris :P